Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

Theft reveals student safety as key USM priority

Posted on October 28, 2013 in On the newes, Perspectives
By USM Free Press

Within hours of learning about the theft of master keys on Tuesday, the Department of Facilities Management implemented a rapid response to address potential security issues on campus.

First, facilities identified and replaced the highest priority lock-changes to protect residential students’ safety and belongings. Then, they worked on areas of the university containing confidential and sensitive student information, and finally, valuable university resources. USM’s Critical Incident

Response Team was then convened, which includes us both, and we were briefed by Chief Financial Officer Dick Campbell, Executive Director of Facilities Management Bob Bertram, Chief of Police Kevin Conger and Executive Director of Public Affairs Bob Caswell.  In addition to reviewing and mobilizing additional security efforts in the residence halls and on both campuses, the group developed a key access plan, and additional communications.

This process has and will continue to take an extraordinary amount of staff time, as well as financial resources, which are likely to be over $100,000. Even so, USM has not relented on the crucial need to rekey, because the highest priority is the safety of students and employees.
As the lock-changes continue, students who require access to buildings outside of normal university business hours, such as our student leaders, members of the Free Press and other students wishing to use the photo lab––among many others––may be inconvenienced by the need to contact Public Safety for access while a process is rolled out to distribute the new keys.

We ask for your understanding, cooperation and patience with the Departments of Public Safety and Facilities Management. University locksmiths, Betty Hilton and Alan Pottle, have worked nearly around the clock since Tuesday to ensure that safety is preserved and to ensure that university operations are impacted as little as possible.

The key access plan started within hours of the notification, continued through the night and is ongoing.  Although these lock-changes may be a temporary nuisance and inconvenience, we are proud to be part of a university community that takes safety seriously.

We are all in this together.

Kelsea Dunham is student body president, and Joy Pufhal is executive director of Student Life.

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